Spirit of Rowan 2022: Tallest point in county gets Young name from old figure

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 27, 2022

On a clear day, visitors to Dunns Mountain can see the skyline of uptown Charlotte or further, but the ambitiously named hill isn’t the tallest point in Rowan County.

That title belongs to Young’s Mountain, a point that rises nearly 1,100 feet into the sky near the western Rowan County town of Cleveland.

On Young’s Mountain, there is no county park or viewing platform to look toward nearby cities. Instead, it’s home to cellphone and internet broadcast towers — a longtime use for the landmark. There’s a few homes on one side of the mountain. Most of the western side is owned by Myers Forest Products.

Young’s Mountain gets its name from Samuel Young, who was born in Scotland in 1721, emigrated to North Carolina when it was a colony and died in Rowan County in 1793.

Young represented Rowan County in the 1774 provincial congress, which met in New Bern, as well as the 1775 provincial congress in Hillsboro. He was one of the county’s magistrates before the Revolutionary War. Then, the magistrates had a much different set of duties than today’s magistrates in their downtown Salisbury office. He also was named chairman of the Rowan Safety Committee in 1775, which required him to make an address to militia companies in the county. He was also military treasurer for the county.

Cleveland Mayor Pat Phifer got to know Young’s Mountain during various childhood exploits. There are wild turkeys, deer and old wildlife living on the mountain, he said.

Phifer knows a bike that starts high enough on the mountain can get up to 62 mph because of a friend who installed a speedometer on his bicycle. The road to the top isn’t paved anymore, which makes cycling down difficult.

A snowstorm hasn’t dropped enough precipitation in many years, but Young’s Mountain is the best sledding spot with a little advanced snow packing preparation, he said. Today, locked gates prevent the same kind of mountaintop adventures, but it remains a landmark for the western part of the county.

“From our standpoint, it’s as close to a mountain as we’re going to get in west Rowan,” Phifer said.